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To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe

News/Business. Kirsten Gillibrand. (2011) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). New. (CC) (Stereo)

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  PBS    To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe    News/Business. Kirsten Gillibrand.  (2011) Sen.  
   Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    September 10, 2011
    11:30 - 12:00pm PDT  

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>> this week on "to the contrary with bonnie erbe," up first, president obama's jobs plan. how might it impact women, children and families. then, america on heightened alert as we remember 9/11 ten years later. more on the threat. and we'll hear from a woman who lost her husband in the attacks. behind the headlines, new york senator kirsten gillibrand's campaign urging women to get in the game. hello, i'm linda chavez in for bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news
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and social trends from diverse perspectives. we begin with the president's plan to fix the country's job crisis. >> >> after revealing the american jobs act to congress and the american public, president obama is taking his message on the road. the plan creates more jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, and the long-term unemployed. it provides tax breaks for companies who hire new workers and cuts payroll taxes in half for every working american and every small business. he also called for reforming the medicare program. >> i realize there's some in my party who don't think we could make changes at all and i understand their concerns but with an aging population and rising healthcare costs we are spendingto fast to sustain the program. and if we don't gradually reform the system, while protecting current beneficiaries, it won't be there when future retireees need it. >>bama urged congress to end the political circus and pass
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the legislation he'll send to them because the proposals are the kind that have been supported by democrats and republicans. the president says next week he'll reveal how we'll pay for the $450 billion jobs plan. and angela mcglowan is president obama's plan a good one for women? >> it's not a good one because that's the rub. flans it is a proposal and that's what we've many. we've had plans from both sides but no true policies to create jobs. >> well, it is not good for women but that's a reflection of the culture and the economy i'm afraid. what i like about it is the investment in infrastructure. splar to what we saw in the great depression. that made a big, big impact. i would suggest that why don't we see some incentives to those firms that hire more women in infrastructure. great field for women. women earn 34% more when they work for the trades, other professions but here is my plan. how about we make sure that every woman earns as much as a man that would have an immediate impact on gross domestic product, 9 percent person. let's do that.
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>> i think it is a starting point. starting point in the discussion and the debate, a debate that should put solutions for the economy above politics. >> there's some good proposals in it but we'll have to see what congress cuts in order to pay for it. >> angela, let me go back to you because i really wonder whether or not this is a $450 so billion stimulus plan. it is about half of what we had in 2009. on the left people think it is too little. on the right, they want to know how to pay for it and that's the problem. listen, any president can come up with a great plan or proposal but it is actually getting it to congress and with us having tea party members now, and very liberal congressional members, are we going to see another debt ceiling debate. the bottom line is this: these people on capitol hill work for us and they need to come together to make true change. the change that obama talked about can the change the candidatess talked about in 2010, when the tea party took over congress. >> i have to tell you every congresswoman that i've had lunch with lately, and we're the
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oldest organization financially supporting women so we meet with the congress women all the time them say unfortunately i know this is on the right side those tea party folks they don't want to see anything passed and that's a big problem. >> i'm a big tea party support emple i'm in the a member but i've ge to several of their events. these are regular american who is are doing what the constitution says. we have the right to state our gre vances. >> understood but when it comes to needing to pass separation on the floor. and by the way if the tea party folks were on the left i would be criticizing them the same way. >> the left has theirs. they have their liberal and they have their liberals that keep things from happening as well and i don't think that's true. i don't think that's fair to say of any american or anyone who is as active in this debate that we're having in here in washington. and i -- with over 70% of disapproval of the direction this country is heading, with over 80% of the people feeling that congress isn't heading in the right direction, and doing part. they have this disapproval ever. and in history.
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i think shows that we need a more civil debate and that the less -- >> let me get new here. >> i think getting more women's voices? the discussion is very -- >> can i get in here now. >> is very useful. we saw in many of the budget negotiations women -- there were no women at the table whatsoever. and now with the super congress, or the super committee, there are 12 members. there's one woman senator, patty murray which is way below women's representation in the country and in congress. so i mean, getting more women's voices because they are the one relying on medicare and social security. >> i want to raise at the open you raised we should be targeting these jobs for women there ising? called the 1964 civil rights act title 7 that would not allow you to target and give certain jobs to women as opposed to men. so is it really fair to talk about it in terms of a male versus female? the bottom line is, money comes out of the pockets for everyone. how are they going to pay for this? >> well, i think if i could, for a moment, go back to a very important point that amanda said which i think answers your question, we're ranked 86th in
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the wld in the number of women in elected office in our country. we're ranked between cuba and afghanistan. if you look at the recent standard and poors downgrading of our credit which is insurmountably expensive on all fronts. what caused that, partisan bicker. what caused it underneath, the lack of women. women are known to -- >> how are we going to pay for it. >> if we had more women at the table, who balances the checooks at home? >> exactly. >> but it is different from balancing the checkbook than balancing the budget. and to go back, do we need more diversity in congress? yes. but we need people to stop playing politics and policy. >> i want to get you in on this. speaking about playing politics what about the republicans who didn't show up and they claimed it was to go watch a football game. >> you know -- >> was that good politics. >> no, that was not good politic. right now our economy is not having the recovery we eck spenged it to. have our nation is $14 trillion
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in debt to ignore the president, to watch football, i mean, hello, time in a survivor pool. i love football. just as much as anybody. but that's -- that's not right. they should have showed up and listened to his proposals pause we have to have a debate. >> that's the strats gi, but for those republicans running for reelection, that is exactly the commercial i would have run. >> many gop leaders said you need to come, we need to respect the office of the presidency. it is your job, you're a congressman. watch the football game later. tivo. >> i'll point out something. 16% of congress is women. only 3 percent of those women come from the republican party. and i would say an incident like that is a direct reflection of the relative to democrats. >> the lack of diversity in our party. and black conservative and female, i totally agree. >> you're like apply norrity of a minority. >> all my life. but we do need more diversity outreach. >> and what about jobs? what about the surveys that show
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that a lot of americans are without jobs, is this going to fix it? are we going to see anything that is in this package, is twreal actually going get someone out there to go out and hire new people? >> the only thing that will fix, first of all we need to cut government spending. second of all, i do like the fact that he's giving tax incentives to small businesses. >> absolutely. >> small businesses are the back bone of this country, and speaking of women, a lot of women own small businesses. >> that's right. >> and that's where the big growth sector is in the middle of a recession where we're trying to make sure we're not going deeper it is not the right time to cut government spending. get the economy going and cutting government spending did not take us out of the great depression. >> i'll tell you this. if you look back at history when we came out of world war ii, we cut spending dramatically. we saw one of the greatest booms in our economic history. >> if i may, let me get -- >> let me get amanda in here. with have no republican response to this speech. is that unusual and should they have given a response? >> it was a bit unusual.
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basically says to the presint, you're speech is important but d.c. not important enough that we want to respond to it. >> i disagree. >> from a policy stand point we've had partisan politics on both sides. and a lot of times, when you have a president -- >> a lot of times when you have a democrat speech or a democrat -- a speech, you have people that come after and make it political. we have got to stop the politics. >> we'll have to make this no more political because now we have to turn to another issue. as the country commemorates the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, new york city and washington, d.c. are on heightened alert following credible but unconfirmed reports of an active terror plot. public ceremonies continue under increased police scrutiny. "to the contrary" spoke with one woman who is attending the remembrances for very personal reasons. it was a day that forever changed the face of america. on september 11th, 2001, the hijacking of 4 planes and the
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attacks on the world trade center towers in new york and the pentagon in washington, dc, rocked a country once considered the safest in the world. now on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, widow alessandra benedetti knows it will be a day of painful memories. >> it was a very difficult day, not just for me, but for everyone else, in particular because i couldn't get a hold of my husband. paul was my husband and he worked at aon in the south tower the 92nd floor. when i couldn't get a hold of him, i panicked. because i felt like i couldn't figure out whether he was okay or he wasn't okay. i spent the whole day waiting for him basically. that's basically how it happened. the whole day was just waiting. >> benedetti waited patiently for news her husband safely made it out of the south tower. but that news never came.
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>> once we saw the devastation and the destruction and just the collapsing of all the buildings and just everything looking really, really bad, we knew right then and there he couldn't have survived this. there was absolutely no way. >> as a september 11th widow, she shares a special distinction with women across the country who have lived on beyond their husband's tragic death. these are women who find strength in each other, despite common misconceptions. >> that we're not all greedy. (laughs) that we didn't, we weren't happy about the money we received, which is a big thing that i think a lot of widows have been feeling badly about. that we aren't stealing our friends' husbands away, because i've been hearing a lot about that too. and that we are all still very, very hurt by what's happened. >> amanda terkel. this is pretty unusual that we have got these very, very public warnings. we've had mayors in both new york and washington, d.c. come out and warn us of a
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possible attack. should we be worried? >> i don't think we should worry too much. but, i that i we should be vigilant if we see anything suspicious and it is a rinder that we're no longer a country where peace is normal we're a country that's been at war since then and it is reminder that things have changed. >> gulian entry said that this morning in an interview that we shroud not be worried. but we should be vigilant. because we're not out of hot water yet. and i mean, you have people around the world that hate us because we're americans. >> yes. >> and gretchen, what do you think about the fact that this is happening right when we're supposed to be remembering. there was a poll recently that showed that almost half of americans cannot tell you the year that the 9/11 attacks occurred. so you know, this is -- you know, we do forget very quickly and yet we heard the story from a widow, mrs. beneditti and you wonder how have families rvived and gone on. >> the families have survived
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out of percent he have republicans, the strength and will to live on and represent that memory of that person who lost their life that day. now, going back to whether are these attacks expected or not, i think you know, here we are the ten year an vernsry. i remember going back to the first anniversary and the second anniversary and how we were all so just waiting and watching our watches hoping that the day just went by peacefully. and i think that's something that a lot of people are going to be concerned about this weekend. and kind of expected to happen this weekend. >> you were here that day, 9/11, we weren't democrats, we weren't republans, we weren't black or white, we were americans under attack. and i think i want to commend the obama administration and the bush administration for keeping us safe. >> amanda, let me ask you there is a recent pugh poll out of american muslims. it turns out they feel very much that they are americans, they identify very strongly as americans. this is not true of many muslim groups in say europe where there is a tremendous difference between the population there. what about american muslims how has this affected their
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community and how is it that we can get back to what it was, angela talked about in terms of becoming one america again? >> i think it is remarkable that they feel that way because since 9/11, they have undergone a lot of suspicion. they have gone under a lot of hate attacks, a lot of rhetoric being flung their way as the japanese during world war ii. the fact they still feel that is tremendous and we should not be casting suspicion on everyone who is muslim. >> and sam, you know, some of the information that is coming out in in the news suggests if there are people who have been sent in here to plan an attack, one of them may be an american citizen. has the face of terrorism changed that we really can't stereotype people anymore? >> absolutely. and i think that to -- your point that we're all americans in this, i think the real thing that came out of 9/11 the day of, was that communal decency of everyone helping everyone else. and i just want to draw attention to the fact that the legislation that was passed to help those volunteers just got passed recently by two women. >> and that's a good point to end on. now, behind the headlines:
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senator kirsten gillibrand. gillibrand was propel spood the national spotlight in 2009 when former new york governor david paterson appointed her to the senate seat vacated by hillary clinton. over the last two years, gillibrand has spoken out on hot-button issues including the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, the affordable care act and the war in afghanistan. now she's using her political clout to launch a new campaign called off the sidelines to get more women involved in politics. >> decisions are being made every day here in washington that affect every aspect of women's lives - whether it's social security, medicare, healthcare, or national security. these are issues that women care deeply about, and so i'm hoping through this advocacy to get more women involved, to get more women voting, more women running for office, more women advocating for issues that they care about. because the simple fact is when women are part of the decision making, the decisions that are made are better decisions. what are some of the activities
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that go along with off the sidelines? >> what we want to do is get more women engaged. different women will be engaged in different issues. we want some women to run for office if they want to. if they care about education, run for local school board. or if they care about national education policies, run for congress. so we link to a number of organizations that do training. we want women to vote so if women aren't voting, there are links for how to register to vote in your area. if you want to get involved in my campaign, it links to my campaign. so there's all these ways and tools to get women engaged on whatever issues they care about. i also hope that women will begin to talk about the issues more. on the website, we have a number of people telling their stories on video saying why they got off the sidelines, what was important to them, why they entered public service, why they ran for office. so i find that the more people who tell their stories could inspire all different people for different reasons. you see yourself in different stories.. >> what made you decide to take this on and run with it?
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>> this year was the first year in 30 years that the percentage of women represented in congress went down. so we're going in the wrong direction. so i feel that's why this call to action is so important. it's really just about an awareness campaign, and i see it as similar to what we did during world war ii with rosie the riveter. if you remember rosie the riveter, she had her hair in a red kerchief, yellow background that said "we can do it," she had her sleeves rolled up, and you could see her arm, very strong. and what that was an invitation to american women to enter the workforce. and women responded overwhelmingly; two million women entered the workforce. so i want a rosie the riveter for our generation to say, "we need you!" because of your ideas, because of your experience, because of the way you problem solve. >> is it a bipartisan effort? >> right now off the sidelines is part of my campaign; it's about who i am, what i care about, and it's something that i think is really important to this country long-term. but what our efforts do is hopefully bring women to the table regardless of their political party; we want all women voting, we want all women running for office, we want women's views heard.
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>> what about the old boys' club? and issues like fundraising? are these things that hold women back? >> a lot of studies show that women liked to be asked to run, that it really makes a difference if they are asked, whereas i don't think men wait to be asked. so a lot of the women's advocacy organizations that we link to on our website are doing that, actually addressing those issues and really calling women to begin to run and telling them how important their views and voices are. you know, women are different than men, but i think we can understand it and begin to build on that.. >> tell us how you've balanced your work and family life. >> i do what most parents do, you do your best. like most working moms, you have to always make choices. i get to typically decide my schedule. so i can not have early morning meetings so i can take my kids to school, and make their breakfast, and have at morning routine. and i can try to limit meetings between 5:30 and 7:30 so i can pick them up from school and
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make their dinner and give them a bath, read them books, and put them to bed. and if i have to go back to vote, i'll do that, if i have to take later, evening meetings, afort they are in bed, i'll do that. but i feel very lucky because the woman who is cleaning offices late at night doesn't get to choose her hours. the woman who's in the emergency room working double shifts doesn't get to choose her hours. i have two beautiful sons - henry, who's three, and theodore, who's seven, and i feel like every family in america feels, it's the greatest life's blessings to have children. and it not only, makes me a better legislator, but a better person. >> i don't think this was a hard sell for you. you actually head up an organization that tries to get more women involved. tell me, is this really going to be the year of the woman? we hear that it seems like every two years. >> absolutely it is not. in fact, we just experienced as kirsten gillibrand pointed out the first back slide in the number of women in he lenged office in 30 years. more distressingly the farm team for congress which are the state legislatures across the country had sweing declines in the
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2010 election cycle. so 201i would hope more women are running but in twut they are not. why aren't they running i think is the compelling country here. >> i'm ask angela because angela you like i have run for office and you have too sam. so you have at least three women who here who have thrown their hats in the ring. why is it that women are so reluctant to get in the ring andfide it out? >> i think the senator said it best that women wait to be asked or want to be asked. when i decided to run, i went to our party, the republican party. and they told me that it wasn't my time yet. it is such a good old boy's game, whether you're democrat or republican, where you throw in your favors, they like you, then they'll support you. so with some of our people in the party i said, look, i'm not here to ask for your permission, i'm giving you a respect telling you this is what i'm going to do. and what we need to do is go out there and recruit more women. the only way that they can make change is being at the table where change is made. >> absolutely.
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>> amanda one of the big problems that women face, actually all candidates face, but women seem to have a little tougher time raising money. why is that? >> well, i mean, i think that first of all i think a lot of this has to start early on because women getting women involved, 60% of men think that they are fit for political office, but fewer than 40% of women do. and so i think that there's still a perception in people's minds about what makes a good leader. is it a woman or is that a man. and there's a new study out that shows people see men and like to have men as bosses, not women. and so, we need to start changing the way the media talks about women. the way that how people see leaders and more people will be giving money to women. >> amanda what is so sad, even when elizabeth dole was running for president and i used to work for senator dole, he gave money to john mccain, and elizabeth dole would bring the people out to her town hall meetings, but she couldn't raise the money. so i think we need to let women know too, give $10 here. give $5 here. >> although we have patty murray
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raising money. >> exactly. >> and debbie -- >> two important facts. number one, women don't give politically. that's vote with your purse. you're absolutely correct. women need to start giving politically. the other thing actually is, all things being equal, women raise as much money as men do these days. so we have overcome that particular hurdle. >> once we're in office though. >> well, no. even in challenger races. even in challenger. but the issue is this. men wake up in the morning, look in mirror and go, oh, i see a senator. [ laughter ] women don't think that they are qualified. and women don't think of running. that's the issue. so, everyone needs to be asking women they know, gretchen, to you. >> also the choices. she said, there are choices that you have to make, and so many women wake up every morning, and look at their long to do list and think, this is one -- >> gretchen, i ask all of you because i think that one of the things interesting in the senator's comments was about her family. trying to balance family, there are aren't a hole lot of men who run for office who have to think about whether or not they'll
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have time to give the baby a bath that evening or pick the kids up from school is. this a problem, grech joan it is a problem. and it is not only a problem in that but just being educated on what's happening in politics. i had a conversation with some 30-year-old women last year who were all, you know, had their babies, and their families, and i'm not. i am single. but -- [ laughter ] i was saying because we have a non-profit and i was saying would you pass this information on. and they said, you know, actually i don't have time to read that information. i don't have time to know what is happening in washington unless it is scrolling across my gmail or on my a.o.l. home page. i don't know, they have to make tough choices because the to do list is so long. >> are there other ways that women with influence policy? does have it to be running for office or should they become lobbiests, start non-profits. how else can women have a role? >> i mean, they should do all of that they should non-profits, lobbying. they should join the media. we need more women because it changes the conversation. it gives role models for younger
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women to say, you know, i don't have to do this one thing. i can do anything that i want. >> that's right. >> well, and i guess we'll have to get more women actually making that decision. i'll give you the last word. >> i think that when someone decides the run for office they have to have a partner in their husband. it has to be a joint decision. and men don't ask permission but women have to. >> and if women care about having influence, giving money politically is the best way to do it. >> we'll leave it there that's it for ito the contrary." next week, margaret hoover, great granddaughter of herbert hoover talks about revamping the party to attract younger supporter. check us out on the website. this week, the phone call firing of yahoo!'s female c.e.o. and its impact on women in business. whether your views are in agreement or to the contrary, please join us next time.
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>> last time on design squad, the teams were pushed to the limit wh they had to build... >> an automated wheelchair that will attack me... oh, boy. ...track my moves on the court, and simulate the hit of a defensive player. >> purple team was onside... >> this motor's spinning because this thing is spinning. >> i like that idea. >> ...while green team was spinning their wheels. >> we have to think outside the box, so... >> right, but we also have to think what's practical. >> sometimes you've got to listen to other people speaking, like, you know? >> soon, both sides were butting heads. >> just don't make the same mistake on the other side. >> she's reminding you in a very angry... >> okay, i got it, guys!
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>> when it came down to the crunch... ( cheers and applause ) >> overall, i'm going to have to go with the green team. ( cheers ) >> and to add insult to injury... >> you have to dress up as girls for the beginning of next challenge. >> and that means, after two challenges, ana and wes are sitting pretty in the lead with 200 points. >> i still think we had a better design. >> yep. >> i'm surprised we lost, so... >> yeah! >> i was so glad i did not lose that bet, because i had no idea what they were going to do me. so i'm glad they lost and not me. >> major funding for design squad is provided by the national science foundation, where discoveries begin. >> major funding for design squad is also provided by intel, engaged in today's education to inspire tomorrow's innovation. >> design squad is also brought to you in part by the lemelson foundation. established by american inventor
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jerome lemelson, the foundation sparks, sustains, and celebrates innovation and the inventive spirit in the u.s. and developing countries. >> additional funding is provided by: ♪ we've got two days to get this straight ♪ we've got a challenge, just won't wait ♪ our eyes are on the prize ♪ an engineer just set the date ♪ got this client, can't be late ♪ oh on, it's go time! ♪ build it, test, fix it ♪ debug, now kick it ♪ gotta get it off the ground